I am the younger of two brothers, and whenever a story begins, “There were two sons,” I know it’s going to be good. In the Bible especially, stories with two siblings typically involve an older, more dutiful one and a younger, more free-spirited one—think Mary and Martha or Jacob and Esau.
As his audience might expect, Jesus sticks to this trope.
“There was a man who had two sons,” he says. The younger one is eager to make it on his own and knows he can live large with his inheritance, so he asks his dad for that and goes on his way. Of course, this is probably devastating to his father, but he goes along with it knowing that he may never see his son again.